Vermicomposting – Serious Gardener’s Hobby
Vermicomposting is composting with worms. The worms eat organic materials ideally balanced with both carbon and nitrogen elements. They produce castings – worm “poop.” The castings become the end product, vermicompost, a wonderful soil additive.
Vermicompost is used by gardeners to improve soil structure, increase water-holding capacity and add nutrients and beneficial microbes to the soil. A specific type of worm, the red wiggler (Eisenia fetida) is considered the best composting worm. They eat nearly their body weight in food per day. Under ideal conditions. their populations can double in a few months and they can live for several years.
Worms will eat some of your fruit and vegetable scraps but keep in mind they dislike acidic foods like citrus or strong foods like garlic. If they are overfed, especially with items they dislike, you will start to notice a putrid smell. If this happens, simply remove the excess food and relocate it to your standard compost bin. Anaerobic conditions caused by the bin staying too wet can also cause a bad smell to develop. This can be fixed easily by adding more carbon items, such as shredded newspaper or oatmeal flakes to the bin to soak up the excess moisture. Most bins come equipped with a bottom drain pan for holding the liquid drippings and a spigot to release water into a container. After dilution, the “worm tea” can be watered onto plants.
Compost worms also do not thrive in temperatures above 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Some people keep their worm bins inside the house. There is no smell associated with a worm bin if you are doing it correctly. Most people who try worm composting find it to be quite a pleasant and rewarding hobby.
Content by Susan Griffith
Photo Credit: https://sfbay.cropmobster.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/1_lb_redwigglerworms and Google pictures